Former Jicarilla comptroller pleads to guilty to $200,000 embezzlement

SANTA FE, N.M. — The former comptroller for the Jicarilla Apache Nation’s Utility Authority pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque of embezzling $214,594.13 from the authority.

Robert G. Wells, 63, of Albuquerque, pleaded guilty to embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization, said Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough,

Wells was arrested in November 2013, on a three-count indictment charging him with the embezzlement which occurred between July and October 2011, said a news release from the U.S. Attorney.  Wells, a non-Indian, pleaded guilty to all three counts of the indictment and admitted embezzling money from a Wells Fargo Bank account belonging to Utility Authority through an unauthorized withdrawal and two unauthorized transfers, said the release.

In his plea agreement, Wells admitted stealing money from the tribe’s bank account on the following three occasions:  $500.00 in July 2011, $92,331 in August 2011, and $121,763 in Oct. 2011.

Wells remains free on conditions of release pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Wells will be sentenced to a term of probation and will be required to pay $214,594.13 in restitution to the Jicarilla Apache Nation.



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